Magic Sword: Heroic Fantasy, is a side-scrolling fantasy hack-and-slash game released by Capcom for arcades in 1990. The game casts the player as a hero who must fight his way through a mystical tower in order to save the world. The player can use a sword, axe or magic, and can also rescue and recruit potential allies of various character classes, each of which has its own special abilities. Three years earlier, Capcom had released the similar Black Tiger.
Magic Sword takes place in an unnamed world, which is being threatened by the dark lord Drokmar (Dracmar in the original Japanese), who has control over an evil crystal known as the “Black Orb”, which would allow him to rule over the world. In order to prevent this from happening, the hero, known as the Brave One (Alan in the original Japanese), must scale to the top of the 50-floor tower in which Drokmar resides, known as Dragon Keep.
At the game’s end, when Drokmar is defeated, the player has the option of two endings: Destroy the Black Orb, or to take control of it, becoming the new dark lord.
Magic Sword shares many gameplay elements with Black Tiger. The game has side-scrolling fighting, with some platforming elements. The player controls only the main character. The accompanying ally, controlled by the computer, follows the player diligently and only attacks and jumps when the player does. Assistant characters consist of Amazon (archer), Big Man (wields an axe), Knight, Lizardman, Ninja, Priest, Thief and Wizard. The player is allowed to carry one item, which can assist the player or the current ally.
The player has a magic meter. It fills up while the player is not attacking, but it empties completely each time the player attacks. If the player attacks when the meter is empty or is blue, the player can only perform a melee attack when the standard attack button is used. Magical allies like the priest and the wizard will not attack in this situation. If it is red but not full, the player and any magical ally teamed up with him will perform a weak ranged magical attack alongside the melee attack. If it is full, the player and any magical ally teamed up with him will perform a strong ranged magical attack alongside the melee attack. Non-magical allies will attack when the player attacks regardless of the status of the magic meter.
The player’s health is displayed as a set of five HP bars and a number next to the HP bars that counts the number of sets of five full HP bars beyond the ones that are shown on screen in case the player has more than five full HP bars. The ally has a separate HP meter that maxes out at four HP bars.
Full screen attacks can be performed either instantly when a magical book is collected or on demand at the cost of one full HP bar.
The game has about 50 levels, and multiple endings with two alternate outcomes. There are 51 floors to fight through in the game. Eight of these floors have boss characters at the end, including Drokmar himself at the end of the 50th floor. Additionally, there are seven “Secret Doors” which allows the player to bypass levels when specific maneuvers are performed.